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Rogue Immigration Officers Conspire With Fake Gold Scammers, Report

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Gold scammers are colluding with rogue Immigration Department officials to intimidate foreign businessmen and their witnesses after defrauding them.

An investigation report has revealed how some immigration officers were even placing red alerts of deporting the foreigners who have been defrauded without compelling reasons.

According to the report, the officials involved in these scams are said to receive 10 percent of the proceeds, according to a report.

In one of the cases highlighted in the report, Doreen Agani Songwa was found to have endorsed the passport of a Liberian gold fraudster with a fake E-visa at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

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This was to enable him enter the country illegally, according to a letter reference IMMS/6/4/VOL.XIX(TF)/108 and dated May 2.

The Liberian together with a Chief Inspector Peter Owiyo were later charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and Stealing goods on transit -6.4kg of gold valued at USD408,420.

“From the travel history report obtained, details of the flight captured PW 614 instead of KQ 509 was meant to assist and conceal the illegal entry into the country,” according to a confidential report.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has also that the scamming in the country had reached unprecedented proportions with negative ramifications both for the reputation and economy of the country.

“While Kenya does not produce much gold, tons of the commodity are being traded through the country whereby scores of foreign gold buyers have lost millions of dollars in a scam which has continued despite efforts by the government and reports in the media,” a report reads.

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“Scammers are using any means possible to intimidate foreign complaints such as threats and unjustified travel stop orders place by corrupt Immigration officers,” the report adds.

On May 5th, gold scammers had engineered the deportation of a Ghanaian national who also happens to be a key witness in a Sh132M gold scam. This was however thwarted by the interior CS Prof. Kindiki.

Lawyer Thomas Otieno Ngoe and businessman Nicholas Otieno Ndolo were charged in a Nairobi court with defrauding an American businessman of Sh132 million in a fake gold deal.

Lawyer Thomas ‘Tom’ Otieno Ngoe. Photo courtesy DCI.

Investigations have also shown that most of the foreigners who come to buy gold are on tourist visas. “Immediately the buyer realizes that is being scammed and reports to the police, the scammers call their Immigration department contacts who are in their cartel and start proceedings to deport these foreign buyers,” the DCI said.

Gold scammer Steve Okute who, according to the report, travelled all the way to the US to convince a complainant not to attend the hearing of the case in court. PHOTO/COURTESY

When some of these victims discover that the gold is fake after they have travelled back to their country, they are usually denied entry again in Kenya.

“His or her passport is stamped as ‘Prohibited Immigrant’ for 5 years. For their work, it is alleged that the Immigration officers involved in the scam receive 10 percent of the proceeds,” the confidential report reads.

In cases where genuine buyers apply for a visa to come and do gold transactions in the country the gold fraudsters will ensure that the buyer will get a tourist visa.

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“Since the buyer is invited and lured by the scammers they make sure that the buyer has sent a copy of his passport which is given to corrupt immigration officers in their scamming cartel to issue tourist visas only,” the report adds.

However, if the buyer insists on a business visa, they are usually advised that the same will be obtained once they are in the country.

The fraudsters usually organize accommodation for their victims and facilitate their visit to tourist sites, among other activities, to win their confidence.

They will also ensure the buyers do not associate with the locals or their local contacts, relatives or friends.

“The scammers ensure that one of them is assigned at the hotel to monitor their movements and ensure that they do not go out unaccompanied,” the DCI said.

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The fraudsters also ensure the buyers are under their full control and even have full control of the CCTV to monitor the activities of the buyer.

On May 5, a Ghanaian and a director of one of the aviation companies was arrested by the DCI’s Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) on allegations of being illegally present in Kenya.

It was later revealed that the foreigner had a valid working permit and the arrest was planned by the gold fraudsters since he was suspected to have been providing crucial information to some detectives about the fraud.

“When he flew back to the country to give more evidence, he was held at the airport immigration desk for more than two hours with claims that his visa had an issue and there was an alleged restriction only known to the immigration department,” the report says. The Liberian accomplice, Carace Ownze Toomey, a Liberian of passport number PP00409389 is said to have aided his escape from JKIA.

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The gang is well connected with the report stating that a Liberian fraudster who has been masquerading in the country as a preacher aided the escape of his fellow countryman at the JKIA after he had defrauded a businessman. He was later arrested around Wilson Airport following a tip off.

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In another case coming up for hearing this Thursday May 18 where Patrick Ngare Muchina, Kelvin Mwaura and Muke Wa-Mansoni Didier, a Congolese were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and stealing goods on transit, the complainant was also threatened with deportation.

The report also reveals that one of the gold scammers, Steve Okute, travelled all the way to the US to meet an American woman he and Bruno Otieno had defrauded USD 100,000 to convince her not to show up during the hearing of the matter in court. This case will proceed in court on June 19 and 20 in Nairobi’s Milimani court.

The report further states that the theft of gold which is in transit through JKIA is always facilitated by rogue and corrupt government agencies officials who would have ensured that passengers and goods in transit remain in the designated areas within the airport. Jared Otieno a well known gold scammer was recently arrested after stealing gold bars valued at USD 408,229 (an equivalent of about Ksh. 54,294,457.00) belonging to Shanmugam Sundar Darmaraju. The gold bars were on transit from Liberia to Dubai.


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